The San Francisco Police Department is facing pressure to root out several officers who exchanged racist and homophobic text messages with a former police sergeant recently convicted in federal court on corruption charges. The messages sent between four veteran police officers and Ian Furminger, who is appealing a 40-month sentence in the corruption case, include multiple uses of the N-word and joking references to racist actions typical of groups like the Ku Klux Klan, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr said he acted as soon as the Federal Bureau of Investigation made the department aware of the text messages, reassigning the officers in February to positions where they don't deal with the public. A further investigation, which Suhr hoped to conclude within 30 days, could lead to the officers' removal from the force. “As soon as the investigation is completed, if these statements are what it appears, [I will] seek nothing less than termination for conduct and character incompatible with being a police officer,” the chief said.
Revelations of the racist text messages among officers in San Francisco come as U.S. police departments are under intense scrutiny, after widespread racial bias was found among the police force in Ferguson, Missouri. The U.S. Department of Justice investigation found that several city officials and police personnel exchanged emails that reveal racist attitudes. Those attitudes appeared to reflect a pattern of discrimination against Ferguson’s majority African-American population.
In San Francisco, the four officers under investigation for sending racist and homophobic text messages all have been on the city’s force for more than a decade. The messages were transmitted in 2011 and 2012. One exchange with an unnamed officer, in May 2012, included Furminger asking if he should be worried that the African-American husband of one of his former wife’s friends was visiting his home.
The unnamed officer responded, “Get ur pocket gun. Keep it available in case the monkey returns to his roots. Its (sic) not against the law to put an animal down.” Furminger replied, “Well said,” according to the Chronicle's report. “You may have to kill the half-breeds too,’’ the unnamed officer replied, adding: “Don’t worry. Their (sic) an abomination of nature anyway.”
â€” Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) March 15, 2015